Chief Marketing Officer
To effectively identify potential cybersecurity risks, you need a robust threat detection and response strategy that vigilantly monitors your digital environment, swiftly identifies suspicious activities, and mounts an immediate defense. With these advanced capabilities at your disposal, you can proactively identify and mitigate potential cybersecurity risks, ensuring the safety of your valuable data and assets. In a world where the economic impact of cyberattacks is projected to reach a staggering $10.5 trillion by 2025, being proactive is no longer an option—it’s a necessity.
Identifying these risks is commonly done as part of a “risk assessment,” which is a crucial process in protecting your business from cyber threats. By conducting regular risk assessments, you gain valuable insights into your organization’s security posture, allowing you to prioritize and implement appropriate cybersecurity measures.
But—where do you start? Which cybersecurity threats and solutions should you be paying attention to? Are endpoint detection and response (EDR) strategies still enough to identify the increasing number of cyber attack tactics? And what are the types of cybersecurity assessments you should be using?
Building a strong security posture can feel overwhelming, but don’t lose hope. DataEndure is here to empower you with the knowledge and mindset needed to safeguard your fortress and ensure it thrives.
What Is Cybersecurity Risk Assessment?
According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) cybersecurity framework, cybersecurity risk assessment is a systematic process of identifying, evaluating, and prioritizing potential vulnerabilities and threats that could compromise the security of your digital assets. These assessments help organizations understand the likelihood and potential impact of various threats, allowing them to allocate resources effectively and implement appropriate risk mitigation strategies.
In an era of increased internet usage, IoT devices galore, and remote workers and data spread out all over the globe, the ability to continually test your security controls has become an absolute must for businesses. An annual penetration test offers a point in time analysis against a criminal who adapts 365 days a year.
Failing to identify cyber threats or lacking an effective response plan can lead businesses to:
- Incur an average cost of $4.35 million due to a data breach—a significant financial toll.
- Succumb to paying a ransom following a ransomware attack, which is what 46% of businesses end up doing.
- Endure approximately 20 days of downtime to recover from an attack, causing substantial disruptions and productivity loss.
How can businesses avoid these dire consequences? You need:
- Ongoing risk assessments to help you understand where your vulnerability and gaps are. It’s important to continuously test:
- Security controls – are my tools doing what I think they are?
- Vulnerability assessment – are there any security gaps, patching, or updates that I need to close?
- A layered defense strategy that protects you across six critical vectors (endpoints, network, email, users, access, cloud).
- A security operations center (SOC) with expertise available 24x7x365 for monitoring, active threat hunting, and response.
How Is Risk Assessment Done in Cybersecurity?
Conducting a risk assessment for your business involves a systematic approach to identify, analyze, and remediate cybersecurity vulnerabilities. Here are key factors in an assessment:
1. Identify Assets – Begin by identifying your digital assets, such as sensitive data, systems, applications, and network infrastructure. These assets should also include external assets that are critical to your business operations, like cloud-based services, third-party applications, and vendor platforms.
2. Assess Risk – Expose the weak links in your digital armor—from flimsy passwords to inadequate security controls—that cybercriminals are itching to exploit. DataEndure’s CISO risk assessment, for example, runs a battery of tactics, techniques and procedures across your environment (mimicking what cybercriminals do) to test the efficacy of your security controls. The end result is a detailed report highlighting the attacks that succeeded and those that were blocked.
3. Uncover Threats – Pinpoint potential threats that could exploit vulnerabilities in your digital assets. Consider external threats like hackers, ransomware, social engineering, and phishing attacks, as well as internal threats like employee errors or malicious intent. This step can be daunting, which is why businesses often turn to a managed security services provider like DataEndure. Our DataEndure team is already intimately familiar with the latest cybercriminal tactics, so you can rest assured we know exactly what to look for.
4. Determine Impact – Determine the potential impact of each identified threat if it were to materialize. And remember, it’s not just about the financial impact—consider the operational disruptions, reputational damage, and legal consequences that a successful cyber attack can bring. Take the infamous 2017 Equifax data breach, for instance, where the aftermath included a staggering $575 million global settlement. But it didn’t end there; Equifax also experienced a severe loss of trust and several other consequences, evident from the sharp decline in their stock prices post-breach.
5. Assess Likelihood – Evaluate the probability of each threat materializing. Consider factors like historical incidents, industry trends, and your organization’s current security posture to gauge the likelihood accurately. This assessment allows you to prioritize risks and allocate resources smartly, ensuring maximum protection. And if you need expert guidance throughout this process, DataEndure is here to help with over four decades of experience to pull from.
6. Calculate Risk – Combine impact and likelihood assessments to determine the risk level of each identified threat. This enables you to prioritize and address the most critical risks requiring immediate attention. For example, imagine you identify two cybersecurity threats in your latest security risk assessment report. The first threat, although highly likely, carries a low potential impact. It stems from outdated software and weak passwords, highlighting the need for robust security measures and regular updates. The second threat involves a ransomware attack, which poses a significantly higher risk. Such an attack could lead to severe financial losses and substantial disruptions to your operations. After calculating risk levels, you would likely prioritize the latter threat and allocate resources accordingly.
7. Develop Mitigation Strategies – Create a risk mitigation plan that outlines specific measures to tackle each identified risk. For instance, let’s consider a scenario where you’ve identified a significant risk of phishing attacks targeting your employees. Your mitigation strategy may include implementing multi-factor authentication, conducting cybersecurity awareness training, and deploying email filtering and monitoring solutions to prevent malicious messages. You can also tap into the extensive expertise of a managed security services provider, like DataEndure, for further guidance and support on these strategies.
8. Implement and Monitor – Now it’s time to put your mitigation strategies into action and consistently monitor the effectiveness of your security controls. People are a key part of this process. You need a team of experts who can execute your strategy, correlate information from all the tools, have 24/7/365 eyes on glass and are poised to identify, respond, and remediate any threats.
What Is the Best Cybersecurity Risk Assessment?
The best cybersecurity assessment is one that is baked into your cybersecurity process, not performed as a one-off annual event. It’s part of an ongoing vigilant mindset that recognizes that tools fail, vulnerabilities happen, and you need to be aware of that information before your adversaries are.
At DataEndure, we make it easy to do all this and more in the battle against cybersecurity threats. Our layered approach encompasses proactive security measures to prevent attacks and a response strategy in case of an incident. Recognizing the relentless nature of cyber threats, we prioritize accelerating your security maturity to level the playing field against adversaries.
As we like to say, “Hackers only have to be right once—we have to be right all the time.” Schedule a meeting with us today to discuss embracing a robust cybersecurity mindset.